Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hollyhocks and Morning Moments Outside

The Hollyhocks were out today just in time for a morning picture. I quickly gathered everything I could and created a scene to go with those majestic stalks!

I hope you are having a wonderful day at home!

Mr. S. enjoys evenings on the tractor, keeping the place mowed.  I think he likes it because there is no other traffic and no wrong side of the road.... and no Mrs. S. gasping and putting her hand over her eyes as he makes those sharp turns.

Early Tea

The best tea in summer is at 6:30 A.M. outside!

There will be more pictures later when  there are not so many shadows dancing around.

I have a post coming up something about being careful not to be rash!  Think about what you want to do before jumping in to any plan or belief,. Sometimes even when we think we are an independent and autonomous unit as individuals or families, we let other ideas into our lives that can cause conflict.

If  you are in the southern hemisphere having winter, remember to get everything in  order in your house so you can free up time to enjoy the outdoors when summer comes.  The last couple of winters I'm sorry to say I spent too much time waiting for it to be over and not sorting through things that I need to, or cleaning things that need it. It so happened that each time summer came, I was catching up on all those things and could not take much time off for summer leisure.  My goal is to be "company ready" and I am not there yet! In the meantime, I'm enjoying moving the sprinkler around trying to get everything lush and green around here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Video on Being Emotionally Stable at Home

Portrait of a Young Woman by Erich Ernst Heilmann (German, b. 1924 - d. -?)

Today in my video I made an error when I quoted something from 1st Corinthians 14. It is in Ist Corinthians 12 that the statement was made about "being carried away."  I address this in the video and suggest we do things according to reason and knowledge of the scriptures rather than latch on to ideas and lifestyle changes because we see an interesting trend going on.

I saw a lot of things I would have liked to change in the video but I am not editing anything yet and it has to stand, as is. One thing I will add, is a quote in Jane Austen's "Emma":

You take up an idea and run away with it!

Also my grammar was really slipping in this speech, so its not any surprise  you think  English is my second tongue) but I do not have time for "take 2" and 3 and 4, etc. so I have made up my mind just to do better next time.  

There are other things to consider in this video that aid in stabilizing the mind: organization, neatness, drinking water throughout the day, and keeping yourself going to your goal, without letting others de-rail you.

I want to know what you think, so please leave comments!

Increasing Your Passive Income

19th Century Painting by Hugh Goldwin Riviere

Hello Ladies,

I had hoped to have another video by now but I am not able to make a decision about what subjects I should cover.  Today the subject on my mind is income: passive and active.

I once tried to explain this to someone who was desperately wanting to know how my husband could support me at home.  In order to give me a final shock, she said, "SOME of us have to work, because we don't believe a man is a financial plan."  I looked this up and found it was part of a (religious in fact) seminar for women to help them learn to save and invest).  I did respond that if the saying were true, she should refuse the inheritance left to her by her grandfather and father, and also anything she got from her husband during her divorce, and she told me she got quite a bit from his retirement and other things. The point I tried to make is that we ladies don't think any one source is a financial plan. There are many sources that people just do not see.

I read somewhere years ago that you have to maintain two kinds of finances: one is passive income, and one is active income.  The active income is obviously the money you get for labor each week or pay day, or anything you sell.  Most of our husbands bring home an income, which is used to run the home and provide for the family, and some ladies have other sources of income, whether it be a little shop online or at home, or something else.

  The passive income is a little harder to describe. It is that house you are living in, if you own it, or the little you have stashed away that is gaining any kind of interest, or the things in your home with value that you could liquidate  if you needed cash. Passive income is something quieter and less visible but is a great backup plan.

One definition of passive income is "money you are not exchanging your labor for," or income created in other ways.

(I am sorry I did not find the artist for this painting)

  Having a wholesome family life with members who learn not to be a burden and do not always need rescuing from bad decisions (bad decisions, inadvisable friendships and other things that cost you money out of pocket to correct.) IF you can explain in an understandable way how much more money you can gift to your children if they live close to home and develop a healthy respect for money earned, as well as so-called "passive" income, you may get more cooperation.  One example may be to point out something in the house and say that it has re-sale value if preserved. Or, explain why you do your own repairs, and show how it prevents money going out.

I am not claiming to have done all this, but I'm still learning and trying to see how to manage on a limited amount of money. and am sharing some ideas with you.

 We have all known of those who were extremely poor in cash, with little  in material comforts, who eventually prospered, because their cash was not going "out" all the time to correct all the problems caused by poor judgment, or other things. In a way I think this could also be called your "passive income" because it is a type of prosperity that works quietly over the years, keeping you from having to spend anything to correct something.

Still another source of income I have observed is the use of your mind and your hands to work in the home. If you can do it yourself, you will not have any cash going out. Painting and repairing things these days is relatively easy. There are now instructions online on video and elsewhere for replacing elements and pieces in the water heater, the washer, dryer, the stove and fridge. If I  had that information years earlier we would not have gone through so many appliances and had a lot larger savings.

Perhaps never stated in any financial advice, is the way we handle our emotions and how it can affect our active and passive income. Unhappy or troubled people spend more money to compensate themselves or relieve the pressures of life.

Someone told me they had watched a Hallmark series called "Aurora Teagarden Mysteries" and in it, the Mother of the young lady who had a mystery club, said, "We Teagarden ladies do not have 'melt-downs'. Instead, we figure out what the problem is, then roll up our sleeves and go to work to solve it."

Emotional meltdowns in the face of problems will cost us something, because as we spend hours in what I call a "state of stun" trying to focus on our responsibilities and purpose,  and while troubling thoughts whirl around in our minds, we lose a lot of time and do not know which end is up, are unable to focus on meal preparation (or whatever is needed) and have to go to the deli to fetch dinner, which as you know, is expensive. Emotional upheaval can also affect our ability to drive, and we may find ourselves somewhere else!  I'm not implying you cannot ever eat out, but I'm making a point about how your mind can be a source of income or loss of income if you are careful about your guarding your thoughts.
Now, as to what to do about the emotional attacks of other people when you are accused, criticised or demeaned for anything, of of the most successful tactics for ladies like me is to work it out of your head by organizing your button stash (if you are a sewist), cleaning the spice cabinet, sweeping the front porch, or washing your hair. The principle is, I suppose, is, when you feel you have been stabbed in the back or in the heart or had your mind messed with, use it as a signal to succeed at something, and rise far and away above anything you've ever done, even if it is just being happy.

If Mother was upset, she often went outside to a quite place, had a good cry (or scream) and then washed her hair.  And, this was quite a process. You had to go outside and pour the water over your hair, shampoo it with a bar of soap, then pour more water over it for a rinse, then use vinegar for a final rinse. If you will notice in some of the period dramas, sisters would help each other by pouring water over their hair.

After that, your wrapped your hair in a towel and walked around for awhile feeling like an important sultan with a head dress, and then when the dripping water was sufficiently soaked, you'd remove the towel and wrap strands of hair in strips of cotton fabric, used as rollers

By this time, those troubling thoughts and anxieties were transferred to the job at hand. When the hair was dry, there was the activity of untying those rags and brushing the curls so they would blend together, and then fastening up the hair in a style. In those days we also had a type of setting lotion made of boiled sugar or salt, and water.  It could also be made into a hair spray.

I do not think washing your hair in the shower has quite the same effect on the emotions as washing it outside using collected rainwater did. Note: we did not do this outside in the winter, but used the same procedure over a basin.

There have been many posts written by other ladies showing how getting your appearance in order, dressing, etc. can make you feel more fit for the problems ahead. 

Any thing could be used, such as mixing up a batch of bread, or something in the kitchen, starting a sewing project, or paper crafting, or whatever absorbs you the most, and it can also be a source of active income. The point is, meltdowns don't produce anything. At first you may cry but after that, you have to occupy yourself some way that has good results. Even if you are reading a book, it is better for your emotions (if you can actually concentrate on reading after any kind of emotional upheaval).

There is one other thing that can end up costing you something: listening to those who say: "That is a lovely dress you made. You could make these and sell them!"  I'm sure many ladies have exhausted themselves doing this, and then find they lose interest when it comes to making clothes for their own families. Time is very valuable and it doesn't last forever, so you have to guard it carefully.  I remember one time I made about hundred little craft items to sell and when they did not all sell, I had to donate some and use some as gifts. In the meantime I was neglecting things in the house and most of all I could have been making things for my own children and I should have kept the money spent on the project, for them.

In all things, remember to petition the Lord and ask for His stability in your life.

 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 4:6-7

The point I wish to make (in case I clouded it with all the words ;-)) is that we have to make sure we don't let emotionally debilitating statements ruin us by getting us away from our short term and long term plans, dreams and goals. This in my opinion can be a source of passive income, in that it will work for you quietly and increase later in other ways. Emotions have to be under "good regulation" as the old saying goes.

I am interested in what you all think about this concept, so please leave comments.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

On the 4th

Hello Dear Ladies,

Today people are enjoying a day off for family and friends to appreciate their country.  We have been treated to a day in a national forest, and have enjoyed it so much!

When I first began blogging, the British used to send me funny emails every 4th of July, about how they lost the colonies. I like the quote in Poldark. When asked, "How did we lose the colonies?" He replied, "By being on the wrong side!"  I have not heard from my British constituents in many years. I hope they are not still cross with us, because the Americans are very enamored with the British, and there are no hard feelings that I know of.

The forest is full of daisies.

I didnt get a photo of the water pump that the grandchildren happily pumped to get me a cup of cold water.

As I walked along a trail I picked a bouquet of wild roses, yarrow, daisies, columbine, and sage.

I carried it around the rest of the time I was there, and planted some of it around here when I got home.

above: with the bouquet and the stream in the background. I puddle jumped on the rocks to the other side. 

 I quite liked the shallow creek:
There were other people there from church, who go up there to camp on the 4th of July week.  I never understand why these people who already live in the country, or have a house in the forest, go camping in these places. I live in the country on farmland, and when it comes to a holiday, I stay home, because I feel I am already "camping" out here.  Everyone leaves to a campground, and there is not one tractor or truck making noise on the road past my home. So actually I have a quieter vacation than the campers, who often cluster together with their pets and their fires, etc.  They come home the worse for wear.

On the positive side, the church members being there camping made it possible for us to go visit them, and Mr. S. really enjoyed meeting the men and talking about people they knew from all over the states and the rest of the world.

The trail through the forest is a "good stretch of the legs."

Orange columbine growing wild.

I think this was a giant crop of Queen Anne's Lace by the side of the highway on the way back. I regretted I didn't make a dress to "go with" all this wild scenery. I have made up my mind to do better.

Back home, we enjoyed the sunset:

I cannot quit without including a 19th century painting of a lady outdoors. Instead of thinking what a pity it is we aren't in an era where women wear lovely clothing outside (and inside) , I tried to dress for the forest ;-)." It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!" Or, better to plant a seed and cultivate a plant than to be upset at drabness around  us!

Every time you dress nicely it gives other people the courage and the idea to do so. 

I will try to find the name and artist for this and post it. 

So now here are some notes about our day trip to the mountain forest:

Mr. S. told me he wanted to drive a road that would shorten the trip by an hour, so I eagerly agreed. I did not anticipate the winding, curvy old road and the irregular elevation would make me feel dreadfully ill!  Yes, it did shorten the trip by an hour, but Mr. S. had to wait an hour  while I recovered from a terrible tummy and head ache.  Mr. S. said, "Just put it on my account of famous shortcuts."  I think that means he will "owe" me a more civilized trip somewhere later. His account is in the red.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Susan Rios Email Newsletter

Below is the email newsletter from Susan Rios that came today. It was so cheerful I wanted to share it with you here. I love her art because it is so "whatever is lovely" and it goes with my theme of making the home the preferred place to be.


"America was born out of a desire for self-determination, a longing for the
human dignity that only independence can bring."  

Maurice Saatchi 
NEW  ORIGINAL PAINTING: "Red White and Blue"
12"x16"                  Click to View or Purchase                SALE: $425. 
Canvas Giclee Prints also available on website:
12"x9"      Click to View or Purchase       SALE: $295. 
Canvas giclee prints also available on website:
12"x16"                   Click to View or Purchase                 SALE $395. 
Canvas giclee prints also available on website:        
10"x8"     Click to View or Purchase      SALE $139.
8"x8"          Click to View or Purchase         SALE $89.
4"x5.5"         Click to View or Purchase           SALE $69.
ORIGINAL PAINTING: "California Coast"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Castle - A video

Recently I investigated the word "castle" and the history of this structure. Castle in other languages:

 French - Chateau
Greek - Kasto
Icelandic - Kastala
Irish - Caslean
Italian - Castello
Romanian - Castel
Spanish - Castil
English - Cottage, Castle

Some sources indicate the words camp, casa, cottage and citadel  are derived from castle.

Other words for castle are: high tower, fortress, fort, fortified village, and palace.

The apostle Paul was kept under guard by in Herod's palace. (Acts 23:35) 
It intrigues me that in all his weather-beaten journeys and a shipwreck, that he spent two years in the palace.  

With these words in mind,  I talk about the concept of a home as a castle, and how it is legitimate to call it that, treat it as a castle should be treated, and live in it with grace and dignity.  This would involve being a good caretaker of it and having  good manners within its walls. 

I am using this teacup today.

This is the outdoor pillow seen in the background in the video. 

We think of castles as homes of royalty, but a castle is also a casa, a dwelling place, a home. If we think of our homes as castles, it may change the way we treat them.

Let us think, however, of the castles the way people usually view them: as occupied by royalty.  The Bible speaks often of royalty in the Old Testament, and translates that into a spiritual royalty in the  New Testament.

If we think of our homes as castles and ourselves as royalty, we may approach the care of them and the living in them with a renewed attitude.  Castles occupied by royal persons are usually kept clean and not allowed to collect too much clutter. Of course they hire servants for such a vast homes, but we ought to be able to manage our small castles.  In the parable of the lost coin, Christ describes a woman who swept the floor looking for the coin. The lowest income  family can surely sweep a floor.  I knew someone who did not have a vacuum for her carpet, but she was undaunted: she just used her straw broom and she swept the carpet. 

Dressing up before anything, is the start of a good day at home. The work doesn't seem so demanding when your hair and face and clothes are attractive, so do your best to look your best. If you think your housework and your appearance do not matter, you might be interested to know that it does have an emotional, physical and mental effect on your family and friends.  When I say "dressing up" I don't mean in posh clothes meant for going out to special events, but clothing that is attractive and suitable for the home, yet can be worn in public if you have to go somewhere.  

Children who observe their parents putting things in order will develop an orderly way of thinking, or at least know what order is.

I mention my friend who had developed the skill of being an automatic picker-upper. Orderliness always followed her instead of chaos. I always thought it would be a good idea to pretend that a detective was trying to find out where all you had been in the house, and to avoid leaving any evidence like papers, clothing, shoes, dishes, projects, etc.  It is actually enjoyable to remove the evidence when you leave the place you are occupying.

 Some times I would observe my own habits, like Hansel and Gretel, left a trail of evidence as if I were lost and wanted someone to find me. My friend had reversed this habit so that the only evidence she had been in a certain place in the house or garden, was that it was neater, cleaner and prettier!

Above: These are called American Cottages! A "little" cottage!  This is from a house plans of the 1800's.

The scripture I used  in the video was Colossians 3:23, which says in whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord and not unto human masters, for you ultimately serve the Lord God, and from Him you will receive the inheritance,  (You will have to look it up to get the words right).

If you live in a castle, you will have to be as royalty, being careful of your life and with grace and dignity, seeing to the management of the dwelling.  There is a big difference in how you treat the house when you consider it a castle and yourself, royalty. Would a royal sit in squalor in the castle with pizza boxes all over the floor and old food on the coffee tables?

When I think of castle, I see shiny halls and orderly arrangements, with the occupants dressed in dignity for every occasion. I see these people as having very defined parts of their day, such as the morning routine, the afternoon activities and the evening relaxation.

 Every castle has fresh flowers, fresh linens on the beds, clean floors, well-set dining tables (royalty dresses up for dinner) and they are always ready for house guests.

What is it we like about vacation resorts or shopping areas? We like to get away from the disorder and the work, of course, but there are other things too: the look of it, the clean and orderly and colorful way it is arranged in order to be attractive.  There are no shelves that have been left for 10 years to collect dust,( like some of mine.) And so, the feeling you get in a grocery store (in the US and Canada) is a type of freedom, and with that freedom comes a sense of joy.  By observing the sights, sounds. scents, and the light, we can bring it to our own homes.  We like these places because they are cheerful and relaxing, yet energizing.  When we create this appealing atmosphere at home, it is easier to be happy there.

While I am on the subject of the grocery store, I have to mention that businesses are required by strict codes to keep their places clean and neat and not have any hazards to the customers. They make an effort to keep their stores attractive and clean, so maybe we could dress up a little when we go there. The staff must weary of the carelessly dressed customers all day long, especially when they are required by employers and by law to a certain dress code and to have the merchandise in order.  It must be discouraging to have a neat store and sloppy customers.

You probably can guess where this is.

We like the grocery store here in our area because it is cheerfully lighted. There are no "dark corners" or depressing areas such as we sometimes allow in our houses. They know where everything is, and if they can't see it on a shelf, they can look it up for you in their inventory. (We could have notebooks with pages listing our possessions and the location. Too many times I have bought vanilla when I already had a bottle of it in the back of the shelf!) In these shops, the floors are clean, the coffee shop and bakery are making a welcoming, homey scent, and the produce department is bright with the colors of oranges, apples, and every shade of green. In the floral department are all kinds of pretty house plants and cut bunches of flowers for the home.  We can imitate some of this in our castles. 

(Our shopping areas are so nice, I wonder that people don't dress up to go shopping, like they used to. Even royalty will wear their best casual clothes when shopping.)

The market has acquired many of the things that originated in the home, in order to get people to "feel at home" there and enjoy their atmosphere. In fact, much of the merchandise in many shops is designed to be used at home. The home is a target of the market, and so we know the home  must be a most important place.

I have seen people who have moved, still have the unpacked boxes in their living room three years later.  This would never happen in a castle, so if you can think of your home as a castle, you might be less inclined to leave something like that.

A day in the castle begins with your appearance. I suggested in a previous post that if you wear t-shirts and casual clothes that you at least wear pretty, feminine ones and give them a good pressing with the iron. I think it is possible to find pretty clothes for the home. I've shown you how to be inspired by the scenes and seasons, when choosing clothing for the home.

Each day is like a memory in the photo album of your conscience, so do your best to make it beautiful and pleasant. The easiest thing to change is clothing. In spite of changes that need to be made in the castle, at least you can dress up as though you were starting on a very important mission.

I talk about clothing a little more often than other subjects because I have seen such a change in the attitude towards clothing. I have seen better times regarding clothing.  Even the lowest income people wanted to dress up and look nice.  There was a reason for it. It gave people a way to appear dignified and and made them feel confident and noble, and caused them to  like working efficiently and living carefully.   It was motivation for good manners, too. Clothing used to make you feel good, feel renewed.

Thank you for watching, and I hope you will comment.

Here is my question: What would it take to inspire you to treat your home as castle and be happy with your existence in the home? What would motivate you?


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